Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad is delicious all year round but is particularly enjoyed as a meal during the hot Summer months.  I’ve ordered this a couple of times while out in Italy, and it’s usually a little disappointing.  My favourite go to recipe for Caesar Salad is my mother’s recipe and the one I grew up with.  While grilled chicken wasn’t included in original recipes it is often on the menu as an option, an extra ingredient to add to your Caesar Salad.  I like the addition of grilled chicken because it transforms this salad into a substantial meal.  This recipe is for 4 generous servings.

Caesar Salad

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 egg yolks (raw)
  • 2 whole boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 heads of Cos lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped bacon or pancetta (pan fried)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly made croutons (see method)
  • 100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Black Pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts
  1. In a food processor, blend together the garlic, anchovy fillets, capers, egg yolks, hard boiled eggs, Dijon mustard, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper.
  2. Add Olive Oil, vinegar and lemon juice, and continue blending until smooth.  Taste and adjust lemon or pepper if required.  Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble salad.
  3. Cook bacon or pancetta in a frying pan until golden and crispy.  Allow to drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Chop roughly.
  4. Add some rustic Italian style bread cut into cubes into the frying pan with any remaining bacon fat and add a splash of olive oil if necessary.  Fry bread until toasted and golden.  If you prefer the crunch without the fat, you can toast the bread in th oven.
  5. Cut both chicken breasts through the middle, without cutting through, to form one large flat piece. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper and brush with olive oil.  Heat a frying pan until hot then place the chicken breasts on it and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.  Slice for serving.
  6. Assemble the Caesar Salad.  Firstly remove the outer leaves from the cos lettuce.  Using your hands, roughly tear the lettuce leaves and place in a large bowl.  (Some people like to leave the leaves whole).  Toss lettuce leaves with a couple tablespoons of the dressing, half the crispy fried pancetta and half the croutons.
  7. Equally divide the lettuce on four plates.  Add grilled chicken breast slices.  Add the remaining crispy pancetta and croutons on top of chicken.  Using a serving spoon drizzle extra dressing over, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with a little freshly cracked  black pepper.
  • If you wish to make a crispy cheese basket like I did to serve your Caesar Salad in,  just place grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (I used a mixture of both) in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Watch carefully as it melts and starts to bubble and turn golden.  Turn off heat and set aside frying pan.  Wait just a couple of minutes and slide cheese into a bowl.  As it cools it will harden and maintain its shape.

** (A poached egg on top wouldn’t be out of place for a decadent brunch)!


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